Materise is as tough as they get on the mound
“He’s a bulldog, man,” Clarence coach Dave Smith said. “He goes about a buck-forty when he’s soaking wet, but he pumps strikes and he’s got some pitches he can get over. He does a nice job.”
In his first season at the varsity level, Materise has become a mainstay in the new-look Clarence pitching staff this season. With last year’s four main pitchers lost to graduation, the Red Devils needed some new players to step up.
Materise has done just that. In fact, he picked up two wins in a six-day span, firing 13 impressive innings in victories over Frontier and Lancaster.
“It’s going pretty well,” Materise said. “I’m trying to throw strikes and just throw my game. Just get the ball over the plate and get outs.”
So far, he’s gotten the job done. He’s also been a big bat in the Red Devils lineup as the No. 2 hole hitter and plays third base when he’s not on the mound.
“He’s doing a great job every game,” Smith said. “He’s solid at third and he got us two wins in a week when we needed them; he’s doing a real nice job.”
Materise came up big in what was perhaps the Red Devils biggest game to date on April 28 against rival Lancaster. He fired a complete game and added three hits at the plate, including his first home run of the season.
He escaped jams in the fifth and sixth inning and retired the Redskins in order in the seventh to seal the 3-2 win.
“I was getting a little nervous since it was a one-run game,” he said. “But I just kept battling, my defense made some big plays behind me and we got out with a win.”
His contributions have been clutch for Clarence, which is aiming for a fourth straight Section VI championship with a new crop of talent. Just four players from last year’s club, which finished as the top ranked team in Western New York, are back this year.
“We have a bunch of guys that are new,” Smith said. “Not too many holdovers from last year, but progress made in the last three or four weeks has been really, really good. It’s to the point now that we’re going to be in every ballgame in our league and in the playoffs.”
After losing five straight games – four coming against Rochester-area teams in non-league competition over spring break – the Red Devils are on a roll. The win over Lancaster was the fourth for Clarence in five games and the Red Devils have climbed back into the ECIC-I race.
“We just want to keep it going,” Materise said. “ Keep hitting, keep pitching well and hopefully keep winning.”